An “extraordinary” garden

Provide support for struggling parents and their children experiencing serious difficulties is good. Do it while recreating living areas where an entire neighborhood can meet is even better. Soon, in the Croix-d’Argent neighborhood, classified as a “priority sensitive zone” in Montpellier, an “extraordinary” garden will open its gates.

Based in Montpellier, Adages (Association for the
development of specialist establishment management), manages 17 establishments.
They are open to adults and children who are handicapped, social misfits,
or experiencing hardship. Regain, one of these centers, is more specifically
focused on developing parenting skills. It includes several services:
a place where parents and children can meet; Relais
parental des Lilas
open 7/7 to children aged between 2 and 10 who find themselves in an
emergency situation; and Service d’accueil familial d’urgence that provides emergency placement for children aged 0 to 4 with home-based
child carers.
At the end of 2004, Regain moved into a municipal cultural center in
Croix-d’Argent, a neighborhood classified as a “priority
sensitive zone”, in the middle of an uninspiring 3,400-square meter
site covered in asphalt and weeds.

A place to revive intergenerational and social ties

To transform this
unappealing environment into a more attractive place where people would
want to come, the managers of Regain came up with the idea of creating
a “garden in the city.” The project
involved developing, in liaison with the Atelier
permanent d’initiation à l’environnement
[Permanent workshop for urban environment initiation], two separate
areas. The cultural center’s garden, with a bamboo hedge, would
house the meetings organized by Parenthèses between parents and
children. A separate garden for Multiaccueil and Relais parental, would
enable children to garden apace with the seasons and to develop an awareness
of sustainable development (waste sorting, production of compost, etc.).

One final advantage of this green oasis, but far from
being the least important: the neighborhood’s elderly or those living in the nearby retirement
home were invited to participate in creating the vegetable garden and a
bulb garden. This new space will help rebuild the neighborhood’s
impaired social fabric. In the medium term, it may be opened to everyone
on public holidays, and become the venue for certain neighborhood events.
By devoting 32,000 euros to landscaping this garden, the Veolia Environnement
Foundation has affirmed its commitment to this dynamic and unique project
along with the Municipality and the General Council.